Just bought 1988 28 first things to do?

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
I just bought a Beautiful 28! She needs some TLC What are the first things I should do?!View attachment 41386
Congratulations! Some further information might be helpful, as you mention she needs some TLC. Did you have a survey done? Do you have any maintenance records or info from the previous owner? Has she been sailed recently? Is this your first boat, or do you have other boating experience? Is the engine functional?
I am often guided by Nigel Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual, which covers boat maintenance better than anyone else, in my opinion, with clear descriptions, pictures and tips. I always have it on board and it has saved me alot of money over the years.
Frank
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
It sort of depends... but especially if it has been sitting unused for a while, it's probably a good idea to inspect, exercise, and replace as needed - everything - at the dock. As much as possible. Before that first joy ride. Especially before you invite people along for a joy ride.

E.g. (And don't ask me how I know...) old rubber parts on the engine (belts, impellers) might self-destruct the first time they are put under load. Stuffing box may need adjustment or repacking. Do make sure you have a wrench on board that fits the stuffing box. Old sheets or halyards might part when you tension them up. Ancient blocks might not run freely, or might come apart when loaded. Batteries might not hold a charge, or the engine might not be charging them. Old sludge might get stirred up from the bottom of the tank and clog filters.

If the boat has been loved and sailed frequently, all this stuff may be in order. Still, if you don't know how old some expendable part is, it might be a good idea to preemptively replace it.
 

bentdiver

Junior Member
Congratulations! Some further information might be helpful, as you mention she needs some TLC. Did you have a survey done? Do you have any maintenance records or info from the previous owner? Has she been sailed recently? Is this your first boat, or do you have other boating experience? Is the engine functional?
I am often guided by Nigel Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual, which covers boat maintenance better than anyone else, in my opinion, with clear descriptions, pictures and tips. I always have it on board and it has saved me alot of money over the years.
Frank
Thank you Frank! I just happen to have a copy of that book in my library!
 

bentdiver

Junior Member
It sort of depends... but especially if it has been sitting unused for a while, it's probably a good idea to inspect, exercise, and replace as needed - everything - at the dock. As much as possible. Before that first joy ride. Especially before you invite people along for a joy ride.

E.g. (And don't ask me how I know...) old rubber parts on the engine (belts, impellers) might self-destruct the first time they are put under load. Stuffing box may need adjustment or repacking. Do make sure you have a wrench on board that fits the stuffing box. Old sheets or halyards might part when you tension them up. Ancient blocks might not run freely, or might come apart when loaded. Batteries might not hold a charge, or the engine might not be charging them. Old sludge might get stirred up from the bottom of the tank and clog filters.

If the boat has been loved and sailed frequently, all this stuff may be in order. Still, if you don't know how old some expendable part is, it might be a good idea to preemptively replace it.
What size wrench? Can I use an opened end crescent?
 

Roger Janeway

Member II
There's a lot of discussion in this thread about accessing and adjusting the stuffing box:

 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Congrats.

As a practical matter, I'd first obtain towing insurance from Boat US.

Then put the engine through its paces in harbor or nearby. First check oil level and coolant and batteries. Place a new absorbent pad (West Marine) under the engine. Confirm starting and gear shifting. Under way, run the engine at near Wide-Open-Throttle for half an hour with close observance of the temperature gauge.

You're looking for oil or coolant leaks, which the new pad will reveal. And overheating, which the temp gauge will show after running hard for a while. A common cause of overheating under high power loads is a heat exchanger that hasn't been serviced recently.

First peace of mind is a reliable engine, since sailing back into a slip in a new boat is awkward. The boat tow service is there to bail you out and most of us have needed it at least once.

Oh, and now you can fill out your forum signature line with model, year, engine and location. Username/Signature. It will appear under each of your posts and save others from looking the information up.
 

u079721

Contributing Partner
How exciting. Your challenge now is to balance boat projects with getting out on the water and enjoying your new adventure. Great comments above about the engine and stuffing box. I was going to suggest that you go over the boat as if you were taking her out on a charter, learning where everything is. Where are the water tanks, how many, where are the deck fills, which is water, which is fuel. Where are the batteries, do they need water. Which of those lines is a halyard, which is a sheet, how does the reefing work. Where is the anchor, where is the rode. That sort of thing.

And most important - locate all the through hulls, and know what they go to. Have fun!
 

David Grimm

E38-200
The first thing you should do is take a good look at what is in your wallet. This is the last time you'll see it. Lol. No really. I'm sure Christians advice is a good start.
 

toddster

Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
What size wrench? Can I use an opened end crescent?
Maybe. Maybe not. You have to get in there and try it. I have one crescent wrench that looks like it should work but just doesn’t quite open wide enough. Another that opens wide enough, but there isn’t enough clearance in the compartment to turn the handle of that big wrench. Sometimes a basin wrench (for kitchen sink drains) will work. Sometimes you have to saw off the handle of a crescent wrench to make one that will fit. A small stillson might do the trick, but it might chew up the nut.
BTW, don’t just run the engine at the dock - also put it in gear and get it up to cruising RPM. The dock lines will (should) hold you in place, but this may cause a bit of a stir in the marina, so use discretion. This will reveal how much water drips from the stuffing box, as well as put the motor under load and reveal any odd alignment or vibration problems.

In the same way, in light air, you can hoist the sails and “sail” against the dock lines, within reason. At least enough to exercise all the rigging. Which reminds me; winter time, light east winds, and both my immediate neighbors gone for the season - I need to make another stab at working out the spinnaker rigging.

Re: Boat US - Check to see if they actually have a tow service available in your area. They will sell you the insurance and take your money, even if there is no service available. But you do get the West Marine Gold discount thing.
That reminds me of another “rule” I learned the hard way: Always carry or tow a “dinghy.” Even if it’s only an inflatable SUP stuffed in a locker. Getting stranded on a grounded or inoperable boat in cold water with no way to shore is not fun.
 
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Slick470

Member III
Personally, I'd go through the whole boat and take everything off of it. Empty out all the lockers, cubbies, drawers, etc. and give everything on and now off the boat a basic clean. This process will give you an idea of what you have and where everything is (or was) on your boat. Make notes of were systems are located. Look for corrosion, wear and tear, and damage. Open an close valves. Turn stuff on and off to see if it works (for anything complex look at the owners manual first). Write down manufacturers and model numbers, take lots of pictures of anything and everything so you can reference stuff when you are away from the boat.

For all the stuff you took off the boat, spend some time to figure out what it is or what it does before you decide what to do with it. Some of it will have value to you, some of it will have value to someone else, some or maybe all of it will be junk. Only put stuff back on the boat once you decide that it needs to be there. Sell, donate, recycle, or toss the rest. (I'm bad at this part and still have a lot of random stuff stored under my basement stairs) Make sure you have a good set of the USCG or state required safety gear. Don't assume the stuff that came with the boat is still good, inspect or replace.

I agree with the others with the suggestions to do basic mechanical maintenance so you know the boat has a good starting point. Take lots of notes and start making to-do lists and note when you replaced things so you can start building a maintenance log for yourself (and probably the next guy) Start putting things in order of precedence with safety at the top and nice to have at the bottom.

A lot of stuff, like standing rigging for example, will depend a lot on what previous owners have done. If it was replaced a couple years ago, it's probably fine and should just be inspected for damage or wear, but if it's original, you should probably consider replacing it soon.

Good luck and have fun.
 
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